Syracuse has been spoiled at the point guard position over the past decade. Michael Gbinije was Mr. Consistency for the Orange last season by scoring in double figures in every single game. SU fans are forever indebted to Tyler Ennis for his Pitt miracle. Then there’s Michael Carter-Williams and Jonny Flynn who both were NBA prospects that left after their sophomore seasons. However, the position is now the Orange’s weakest. With Frank Howard coming off an abysmal season that began with him as the starting point guard and ended with him having ten games with single digit minutes. With John Gillon graduating, Syracuse needs to fill the void for this year and beyond. So who is that going to involve?
As of now, the Orange has just two point guards on its roster with Howard and 2017 recruit Howard Washington. This can go one of two ways. Howard could pick up where he left off from the NIT Tournament where he played alright and lock up the starting role. But if Howard cannot secure that and play how he did for the majority of the season, then Howard Washington could get his opportunity. The freshman-to-be is a huge question mark heading into next year because he is a bit of an unknown. Scouts say he lacks the athleticism to be an elite talent, but he makes up for it with his basketball IQ and awareness. Washington may be a valuable player for Orange someday, but someday likely won’t be his freshman year.
The best-case scenario for Syracuse is Tremont Waters. While The Fizz wrote earlier that SU should expend more of its energy recruiting Jordan Tucker over Waters, the four-star point guard is still in the cards for the Orange and would be a huge upgrade at the position. However, Waters is still a bit of a pipe dream since Syracuse is competing with Kansas, Creighton and UConn for his services.
Moving forward, there are a couple of four-star options for SU. Eric Ayala is a guard who the Orange have relentless tried to get to reclassify to the Class of 2017, but to no avail. However, he is still a major target for 2018. Along with Ayala, Syracuse offered New York product Jalen Carey earlier this week.
The bottom line is that the Orange’s struggles have come because of a lack of a high-caliber point guard. That is going to have to change for SU to dig its way back to basketball prominence.